An instructor in school once asked me to read the the Gettysburg Address to the rest of the class and I, groaning, went to the front accompanied by the hoots and snickers of the rest of the group. To drown out the remarks I focused totally on the words that we'd all heard many times; little understood and by now rote. I found myself going "into" them; hearing them truly for the first time in my life and suddenly the class grew still and quiet and we were all hearing them. Then my voice broke and it all went to Hell; but for just that long we were all touched more deeply than we expected to be--it took us all by surprise. Maybe THAT was truly when I found I wanted to be an actor.
So I decided to revisit the document, since I'd not read it since that time. It's good, check it out. Read it slowly, hear the words.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Wow. It still gets me.